Although I have visited Coimbra on many occasions I have not ventured on a walking tour to explore all the attractions that this beautiful city has to offer. I usually end up in Leeroy Merlin, just popping in for one item but exiting 3-4 hours later (ha ha). My daughter was super excited to see Coimbra University as she is heading off to university in Nottingham this year. This day it rained all day! It wasn’t cold and it didn’t rain any other day except for this one so we purchased umbrellas and started the day full of excitement and high spirits (natural high, no alcohol involved, just yet (ha ha).
Coimbra is very hilly so we were well prepared with sturdy footwear. We first ventured on a self guided walking tour of Coimbra. Hubby has a few job titles now. If you have read any of my other posts you will now know that hubby is “Official melon shagger” as he self pollinates the melons. He is also “Official Lilo Monitor” as he guides us around the water on our inflatables when we visit river beaches. He now has a couple more job titles as “Official tour guide” and “Official Driver”. The GPSmyCity app is fantastic and we downloaded a great walking tour in advance so we didn’t have to use our phone data during our tour. Hubby was such a great tour guide, I seriously considered sticking a flag to his back and offering tours at €10 a pop (ha ha). I think his lack of language skills would result in a few refunds at the end! I read a few reviews of city tours organised by official tour guides and one bloke complained that there were too many churches on the tour. This made me laugh a lot. There are a lot of chapels, monasteries and churches but all are different and so amazing to view. I find the churches and religious buildings so fascinating. I was raised Christian and attended Sunday school at our local church of St Francis and also attended the Church Lads and Girls Brigade. I must admit that I have not been to church or mass in the U.K for a long time. Nevertheless I love all churches, chapels, cathedrals, convents and monasteries in Portugal. I can’t understand why anyone would not be in total awe at the architecture and the intricate designs. I also love the fact that you can sit down and take time out to pray if you wish too and also join in a service if you time it right.
I was very impressed with Santa Cruz Monastery. I love exploring inside these buildings and learning about the history. The highlight of our tour was definitely Coimbra University: St Michael’s Chapel, The Royal Palace and The Science Museum. I could spend hours in these places. I wasn’t expecting much as I have recently toured so many U.K universities with my daughter recently to help her chose her favourite to attend and I clearly didn’t take into consideration the history and heritage behind Coimbra University. I was so thrilled with this visit and highly recommend it to anyone who is visiting Coimbra.
St Michael’s Chapel and The Royal Palace were both stunningly beautiful. I am so intrigued by the ceilings and get quite dizzy just stood still gazing up at the wonders. I am also slightly obsessed with Portuguese tiling and all that gold, just gorgeous. It literally took my breath away. You need to purchase the tickets in advance from the ticket office. I am amazed at how little entry costs are here. We couldn’t see the library as it was fully booked and we didn’t view the botanical gardens due to the rainy weather. It only cost €7 per adult for the 3 attractions and Teanna’s ticket cost €3.50 as she is a student. I didn’t take extensive photos outdoors due to having to negotiate the rain, my phone and guarda chuva!!!!!! Can you imagine attending this university? I explored options for Teanna but she is set on university in the U.K. The student fees are actually very reasonable compared to the tuition fees in the U.K. I would love to attend the summer Portuguese language extensive course here. I might explore this for next year.
We parked on Av. Conimbriga alongside the river for free very close to our first attraction Largo do Portagem. There are some parking meters closer to the bridge which charge a fee but we parked a bit further down for free and took a short stroll to our first attraction across the bridge.
After our walking tour we walked back to the car and visited Forum shopping.
GPS Coordinates (Largo do Portagem): 40°12’27.0″N 8°25’47.0″W
Largo do Portagem
Rua Ferreira Borges
Arco de Almedina
Praça do Comercio
Santa Cruz Monastery
Jardim da Manga
Mercade D. Pedro V
Old Cathedral of Coimbra
University of Coimbra
National museum Machado de Castro
New Cathedral of Coimbra
King Dinis Statue
Botanical garden – we didn’t visit the gardens due to heavy rain all day long!